Wearable Devices and Mobile Health Technology: One Step Towards Better Health

With increasing efforts being made to address the current global obesity epidemic, wearable devices and mobile health ("mHealth") technology have emerged as promising tools for promoting physical activity. However, current literature seems to indicate that these new technologies may serve best as part of a larger overall health plan, rather than working alone to encourage weight loss.

In a review for this week's Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, Nicole Spartano, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, comments that recent literature shows that self-monitoring behavior has a role in encouraging weight loss, but may not be enough to keep people healthy when used without thought to behavioral strategies. "There is not sufficient evidence that wearable devices can promote sustained behavior change and long-term weight maintenance on their own." She cites one study in which a game-based intervention produced significant improvement in step counts compared to a group of individuals using a fitness tracker without an incentive program, concluding that "using social or financial incentives and techniques like gamification may support motivation of behavior change".

Spartano also has concern about groups being left behind with wearable device and mobile health technology-based weight loss studies. "Strategies for research study recruitment and, more importantly, for implementing wearable and mHealth technology into a clinical setting or community public health program (in schools, workplace, church or other community-setting) require extra thought and cultural sensitivity to ensure the equity in potential public resources and opportunities."

Ultimately, she is optimistic about the role these technologies may play in developing weight loss and overall health strategies between patients and their primary care providers. "Integration of mHealth technology and wearable devices in primary care settings presents an opportunity to capitalize on the routine relationship that patients and providers have."

Kaitlyn M Riffenburg, Nicole L Spartano.
Physical activity and weight maintenance: the utility of wearable devices and mobile health technology in research and clinical settings.
Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000433.

Most Popular Now

NHS and Patients to Benefit from New Par…

IMS MAXIMS and Secure Exchange Solutions have announced a partnership to offer mobile, secure and cost-effective provider-to-provider and provider-to-patient communications to NHS organisations, GP practices and patients.

Bayer is Taking Collaboration with Healt…

As a pioneer when it comes to collaborating with digital health start-ups, Bayer is now taking the next step. Instead of one-off startup programs, it is now focusing on collaborating...

International Master's in Digital Health

The Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Medical Informatics (MMI) at European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) in Pfarrkirchen - a branch of the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences (THD - Technische Hochschule...

New Antibiotics Are Desperately Needed: …

As the threat of antibiotic resistance looms, microbiologists aren’t the only ones thinking up new solutions. James Zou, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical data science at Stanford, has applied machine...

Digital Medicine: The Opportunities and …

9 - 11 April 2019, Berlin, Germany. Be it preventive healthcare for dementia using intuitive apps, anonymous hospital hygiene inspections using IoT sensors, or VR applications that let hemiplegic patients live...

Highland Marketing Forms Alliance with E…

An alliance between Highland Marketing and Experiential HealthTech will be announced at this year's Digital Health Rewired, with both companies exhibiting from stand B14. Highland Marketing is a full-service marketing...

Google Research Shows How AI can Make Op…

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, diagnosing disease faster and potentially with greater accuracy than physicians, some have suggested that technology may soon replace tasks that physicians currently perform. But...

Virtual Reality could be Used to Treat A…

Playing games in virtual reality (VR) could be a key tool in treating people with neurological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. The technology, according to a recent...

Open Call SC1-HCC-02-2019: Support for t…

In the past years several open service platforms for Active and Healthy Ageing domains have been developed, originating from the medical, independent living, and IoT domain. These platforms aim at...

The Moore Blatch Silicon Cup Opens for E…

This year's Moore Blatch Silicon Cup has been launched and is now open for IT companies to enter. The event takes place over 26 - 27 September on the Isle...

MEDICA 2019: Clear Focus on Future Topic…

18 - 21 November 2019, Düsseldorf, Germany. As a result of the final phase of exhibitor registrations for the world’s leading medical trade fare MEDICA 2019 in Düsseldorf, one thing is...